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 Ask Ed > Medications
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  When should I give my pigeons medications?

My advice about medications differs with each fancierís specific situation. Some fanciers raise pigeons only for their own personal enjoyment, do not compete in races and rarely bring in new blood. Others, like racing fanciers, have their birds mixing with large flocks of pigeons every week during race season, and their birds are being subjected to physical stresses that the average domestic pigeon may never encounter. The show fancier also has specific requirements, as his birds are occasionally hauled long distances and kept in small cages. At times, these show birds are also being mixed with large numbers of other birds. Thus, the medical requirements for each fancierís flock are very different.

Itís my opinion that medication should only be given if there is a specific purpose for doing so. For a fancier to have to medicate very seldom or never, several conditions must be in place.

Quarantine new or strange birds for three to four weeks before allowing them into your flock. Most of my calls from fanciers regarding health problems in their lofts come as a direct result of bringing in new birds, and almost every time the new birds were allowed into the loft without being quarantined.

Select your new birds from healthy and sound breeding stock. If you purchase stock from a fancier who has to put medication in his water every week to keep his birds healthy, then you will have to do the same.

Minimize stress within the loft. This is a very broad category, but it implies simple common sense. A good loft design protects from heat, cold, and drafts. Proper feeding and watering, excellent sanitation, and avoiding overcrowded conditions will go a long way in keeping a flock in good health.

Medicate with a purpose. Develop a sound preventative medication program if your situation calls for it. Remember that over-medication can be as much of a problem as disease.

If your birds are ever mixed with those from another loft or with wild pigeons, a fancier should follow a preventative program to treat his birds on a regular basis for the most common pigeon diseases.